We know that acne can be frustrating and may also leave scars on the face and other areas of the body. However, acne scars don't have to be permanent. Fortunately, there are medical treatments that can help make them go away. Today we're going to explain how they work.
Living with acne can be difficult and for many, the problems continue even after it has cleared up. This is because of scarring, if someone has experienced severe acne, the aftermath can be equally severe and distressing. This may include pimple marks caused by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
Some people consider acne scars to be an unwanted reminder of a painful and bothersome condition. Fortunately, there are many options available to address these scars, however, the best treatment is always prevention.
What is acne?
Acne is a common skin condition due to blockage and inflammation of the pilosebaceous follicle. It can affect the face, back, and chest and present inflammatory lesions, comedones, or even nodules and cysts.
Genetic predisposition is a significant factor in its development. Other influencers include bacterial factors, excess oil production, inflammation, and clogging of the hair follicles.
Approximately 80% of people will suffer from acne at some time in their lives, and 20% are severe cases with permanent scarring and major psychological affectation. In adolescence, it is more frequent in men than in women. The opposite applies in adulthood as it is more frequent in women.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to fully eliminate scars, but they can be greatly reduced and made much less noticeable. It is also possible for your skin to improve on its own as the years go by.
Types of acne scars
Appropriate treatment options may vary slightly depending on the type of scar that caused the acne. There are three types of acne scars:
- Atrophic scars
These scars look like small indentations in the skin, appearing when the skin does not produce enough fibroblasts in the healing process. Fibroblasts are cells that play a crucial role in wound healing and collagen synthesis.
- Hypertrophic scars
These appear when the skin produces too many fibroblasts as the acne blemishes heal, causing a raised scar.
- Keloid scars
These are similar to hypertrophic scars but are usually much thicker than the original acne spot. They are usually darker than the surrounding skin and may be red or brown. Keloid scars may also cause symptoms such as itching or pain.
Treatments to treat the after-effects of acne
Several medical treatments are available to help reduce acne scarring. Your specialist may recommend different procedures depending on your skin type and degree of scarring.
This is one of the most effective and common treatments for facial scarring. Although it uses the same general principle as at-home microdermabrasion kits, doctors use a metal brush or wheel to exfoliate deeper into the top layer of skin.
It is ideal for scars close to the surface, such as shallow boxcars or wavy scars. However, it can also help make deeper scars less noticeable.
- Chemical Peels
A chemical peel is a strong acid used to remove the top layer of skin to reduce deep scarring.
Some chemical peels are mild enough to use at home, but a physician can provide a stronger solution with more noticeable results. There are different types of chemical peels, so it's best to talk to your doctor to determine which one is right for you.
- Facial rejuvenation
The laser removes the damaged top layer of skin and firms the middle layer, which leaves the skin smoother and can help reduce the appearance of scarring.
It may take a few minutes to an hour. The doctor will try to relieve pain by first numbing the skin with a local anesthetic. It takes 3 to 10 days for the skin to heal completely.
Doctors use fillers to fill acne scars and help the skin look even. Fillers can be made with collagen, your own fat, or a commercial filler. They are injected below the surface of the skin to help fill in and smooth deep scars.
- CO2 Laser
This CO2 laser offers a revolutionary technology that has become one of the most requested procedures by patients who wish to rejuvenate the skin and/or eliminate scars.
The CO2 laser is a non-invasive skin treatment of short duration and rapid recovery that aims to treat scars, remove wrinkles, tighten the skin and treat blemishes on the face. It consists of applying small pulses of light to the skin area, thus providing maximum safety and lower complication rates.
If you decide that your scars need treatment, there are several options available. The right option for you will depend on the nature, size, and shape of your scars.